By Harrisson Arubu
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says while science is succeeding against COVID-19 lack of global solidarity is worsening the pandemic.
Guterres stated this in a video message as the global death toll from the pandemic crossed a new milestone of two million on Friday.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, total global cases and fatalities stood at 93.5 million and 2,002,468 refectory as of Friday.
The UN chief noted that although safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines were being rolled out, disparity continued between nations.
“Our world has reached a heart-wrenching milestone: the COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed two million lives.
“Sadly, the deadly impact of the pandemic has been made worse by the absence of a global coordinated effort.
“Vaccines are reaching high income countries quickly, while the world’s poorest have none at all.
“Science is succeeding, but solidarity is failing. Some countries are pursuing side deals, even procuring beyond need.
“Governments have a responsibility to protect their populations, but “vaccinationalism” is self-defeating and will delay a global recovery.
“COVID-19 cannot be beaten one country at a time,” the UN chief said.
According to him, the world must act in greater solidarity and coordination in memory of the over two million souls now lost to the virus.
He said the UN was assisting countries to “mobilise the largest global immunisation effort in history” in line with its commitment to ensure vaccines were seen as global public goods.
To this end, he called for full funding of the UN-led Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and its COVAX facility, both aimed at making vaccines available and affordable to all.
Guterres urged the world’s leading economies to be alive to their “special responsibility” in this regard.
He also called for more commitment from vaccine manufacturers to the organisation’s efforts at ensuring fair supply and distribution of vaccines worldwide.
“We need countries to commit now to sharing excess doses of vaccines.
“This will help vaccinate all health care workers around the world on an urgent basis and protect health systems from collapse.
“Others on the frontline, including humanitarian workers and high-risk populations must be prioritised.
“To gain public trust, we must boost vaccine confidence and knowledge with effective communication grounded in facts,” Guterres said.
While science continues to record gains against the pandemic, people must remember and practice the “simple and proven” steps to keep each other safe.
“Our world can only get ahead of this virus one way: together.
“Global solidarity will save lives, protect people and help defeat this vicious virus,” he noted.